Disabled sailors need volunteer helpers

A PORTLAND sailing scheme supporting sailors with disabilities is encouraging more people to volunteer as their New Year’s resolution.

Chesil Sailability, based at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, is looking for people to assist in a variety of roles.

Volunteers will have an opportunity to work by the sea during the summer whilst making a difference.

The group is currently reflecting on their first full summer season. Weekly sessions ran from April to September with almost 50 sailors taking to the water.

This included people who had never been sailing before.

Some sailors have since made their own personal debut on the racing scene.

A special ceremony was also held in July where £12,000 worth of new sailing ding-hies were launched.

Money from the Rod Shipley Memorial Fund, formed by Elma Shipley and the Chesil Trust, helped pay for two Hansa 303 boats.

Hugh de Iongh, chairman of Chesil Sailability, said: “Looking ahead to 2015, we want to build on the success of this year, sharing the amazing experience of being afloat with more and more local people with disabilities. We want to support our sailors to have fantastic exp-eriences, whether pottering about in boats, or racing.

“Our Race Team is competing in the Europeans and we are hosting the Nationals in 2015, so there is plenty to look forward to and get training for. “But Chesil Sailability really is for anyone with any kind of disability who wants to sail at any level.”

The group is entirely run by volunteers. Over the winter, training is planned to ensure all volunteers feel confident in their roles and organisers stress a knowledge of how to sail is not essential for taking part.

Roles up for grabs can range from reception, administration, looking after the boats, to hoisting sailors in and out of boats on the pontoon.

Other roles could include coaching and safety cover on the water.

If you would like to find out more information or would like to try sailing, please get in touch with Chesil Sailability by calling 07543 656390 or emailing info@chesilsailability.org.uk.


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